Chemical munitions experts have for years compiled information that Syria’s government has used these banned weapons against its own people, a war crime that so far has gone unpunished and been dismissed with a sneer by President Bashar al-Assad.
Now the first criminal inquiries that target Mr. al-Assad and his associates over the use of chemical weapons may soon get underway.
Three NGOs filed a complaint in a Paris court on Tuesday against the Syrian regime of President Bashar al Assad for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”.
The Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and Syrian Archive are seeking a French criminal investigation into the August 2013 chemical weapons attacks on Douma and Eastern Ghouta.
“The complaint points to the Syrian government’s alleged responsibility in carrying out the attacks, which killed more than a thousand people, including many children. These attacks constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity,” they said in a joint statement.
Last week a German court sentenced a former member of President Bashar al-Assad’s security services to 4-1/2 years in prison on Wednesday for abetting the torture of civilians, the first such verdict for crimes against humanity in the 10-year-old Syrian civil war.
Syrian human rights lawyer Anwar al-Bunni said the unprecedented verdict would speed up efforts to bring charges against former members of the Syrian government suspected of war crimes who have fled to Europe.
Russia and China have vetoed at the U.N. Security Council attempts by western powers to refer the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court, leaving survivors of torture and chemical weapons attacks with limited options to seek justice.